Union fights for full terms of contract at Save-On-Foods store on quarterly review

UFCW 1518 continues the fight to restore members working at the Save-On-Foods on Main St in Vancouver to the full terms of the collective agreement. Formerly an IGA store, that location was placed on quarterly review shortly after it was acquired by Overwaitea Food Group in April 2016.

Last Friday, the members of the Quarterly Review Committee,  assisted by union representative Fred Scott and Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak, presented a strong case to Arbitrator Chris Sullivan. Sullivan is named in the collective agreement as being seized of any matters that arise from terms outlined. Now that the store is exceeding the financial target outlined in the agreement, the union brought the matter to Sullivan, arguing that all members in the store be immediately returned to the full terms of the agreement.

“We are confident that the full terms of the collective agreement will be restored,” said Secretary-Treasurer Novak. “And we mean FULL terms, including wage increases for 2017 and 2018, anend to the wage freeze going forward, the return of ATO to all members who have had ATO suspended, no vendor stocking, and all other terms of the collective agreement.”

Quarterly review is a process under the collective agreement that allows the employer to ask for temporary concessions in order to prevent store closures and save jobs. When former IGA store was originally placed on quarterly review, the employer provided financial disclosure that revealed the store was struggling.

In February 2017, after engaging in months of quarterly review discussions, members from the store who were elected to the Quarterly Review Committee made the difficult decision to sign an agreement that mirrored other quarterly review decisions that froze wages and suspended accumulated time off (ATO) entitlements until the store reached the target of improved financial performance.

In signing that agreement, the committee was successful in negotiating $0.25 per hour off-scale wage increase for all Grid A and pre-acquisition Grid B employees. This was a significant issue as there had been NO wage increases for members in this store for over five years due to the fact that their former Employer delayed negotiating terms for a new collective agreement prior to the acquisition.

In the time since the quarterly review agreement came into effect on March 26, 2017, members in this location have worked tirelessly to improve the position of the store, and subsequently there has been excellent financial performance, which has exceeded the targets outlined in the quarterly review agreement.

“I want to thank Tom Szabo, Melissa Fierro and Tammy Robinson, our members on the Quarterly Review Committee, for their diligent work in representing the members in their unit in this process,” said Novak. “It’s because of the hard work of our members that this store has made the improvements it has. Now it is time that our members see the financial rewards of their hard work.”

A decision Arbitrator Sullivan is expected within the next two weeks.